Stella Maris Home for the Demented

By Liana Joy Christensen,


The tides of propriety recede

leaving the sharp tang of mineral salts

on the shifting breeze

the rich rot of seaweed


You’ve seen it all before

It’s only birth’s reverse

Yet this time the one you carry

is not in your oceanic belly

but on your back


Nothing really prepares you

For the innocuous octopus

pulsing bright blue with rage

till your own kraken wakes


As you stagger on

the coral cuts your feet

she shrinks and grows lighter

than a hermit crab


the uncut umbilicus

transluces as you travel

towards the deep water

causing an aching

tenderness to be borne

along with the claws

pinching your sun-stung skin


The pain is real, but also the treasure

in the rock pools thus revealed